Indochina Highlights, Bangkok to Hanoi - 26 Days
Ok people, this is a great way to pack in all the highlights of Indochina! Start off in Bangkok Thailand where you will meet your new travel buddies and tour leader- then we make our way over to Cambodia starting off in the historical city of Siem Reap which is the gateway to Angkor then onto the wondrous Vietnam! Up the coast and end in Halong Bay… Now this is something special! This trip truly is the greatest way to experience the culture and cuisine of Indochina.
- Explore Bustling Bangkok
- See the market stools in Siem Reap
- Angkor Wok
- Visit Phnom Penh
- Chill on the Beaches in Sihanoukville
- See the array of sights and sounds of Ho Chi Minh City
- Jump on a Overnight Train
- Enjoy the bustling streets and tranquil settings of HUE
- Visit the magical Halong Bay
Is this trip for you?
- If you are a culture vulture that likes adventure then YES!
- This is and organised group tour-perfect for solo travellers
- The accommodation on this tour will be a combination of Guesthouse (2 nights), Homestay (2 nights), Hotel (17 nights), Overnight sleeper train (3 nights) Please note: Twin share
- The transport on this tour will be Boat, Ferry, Private Bus, Private vehicle, Public bus, Sleeper train
- Transport on tour
- Some Food - 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
- Some activities Siem Reap - 1 day Angkor Pass, Siem Reap - Angkor Temples Guided Tour, Chambok - Traditional Dancing, Mekong Delta - Boat cruise and homestay, Hoi An - Ancient town orientation walk and entrance, Hoi An - Countryside bicycle tour, Hanoi - Walking tour, Halong Bay - Entrance and half day boat cruise.
What's Not included:
- Flights ( Request A quote )
- Most food
Day 1 – Bangkok
Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand people!!
The big adventure starts with a big welcome meeting at 6pm on your first day.
Keep a look out for a notice that will be on display in the hotel lobby or just give the hotel reception a shout and they will tell you where it will all take place.
You may want to get here a day early if you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, so you're able to attend the big welcoming. We will be more than happy to book any additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
If for some reason you feel like you are going to be late, give the hotel reception a shout, just to let them know you will be there, to avoid confusion.
We will take this opportunity for you to hand us your insurance details and any next of kin information at this meeting, so please have all these details ready to hand so you can give them to your new leader.
Bangkok is as you may of heard by now such a vibrant, cultural city and has so much to offer to those with a bit of time to explore this magnificent place. You can hp on one of the many riverboats to Chinatown letting you explore the bustling streets where you will see locals trading on just about every street corner and selling just about everything you can imagine. Go now and uncover the magnificent Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, learn about these ancient sites and take a wander down the famous tourist mecca of Khao San Road that is the epicentre for backpackers alike or why not treat yourself to some well needed Thai massage where you will be able to now be completely relaxed for the big adventure ahead of you!
Grand Palace - THB500
Wat Pho temple - THB200
Thai massage - THB250
Urban Adventures - Bangkok by Bike - THB1500
Urban Adventures - Bangkok Chinatown Food Discovery - THB1870
Jim Thompson's House - THB100
Urban Adventures - Temple & River of Kings - THB2200
Urban Adventures - Tuk Tuk city tour - THB1400
Accommodation: Astera Sathorn or similar
Day 2- 4 - Siem Reap
Day 2 of this epic journey sees a long travel day as you will depart from Bangkok and take a drive to Siem Reap in the stunning country of Cambodia.. (approx. 10 hours) by private bus, including border crossing and a stop off for some yummy lunch). We do our border crossing at Aranyaprathet in Thailand and enter Cambodia at Poipet.
If you need any assistance your tour leader will help you with the border crossing procedures so no need to worry about anything, just relax and enjoy yourself. A point to note is that if you are obtaining your visa at the border you will need USD cash, which is easily available for you in Bangkok. After you have finished the boarder crossing, you can jump back on the private bus and continue with your journey, which from Poipet to Siem Reap is only another 150 km or so.
A huge amount of travellers make their way to the small but ever expanding town of Siem Reap as this is the gateway to Angkor, which is the most favoured destination for travellers in all of Cambodia, perhaps even in South East Asia. Once you are here you cannot leave without wandering around the markets, which are great places to shop or to try some very cheap, delicious street food.
Kick back and relax with your newfound friends in this historic town this evening in anticipation of visiting Angkor tomorrow.
New day, up bright and early for your visit to the world-famous Angkor complex along with our guide. These majestic temples were built between the 9th and 13th centuries when the Khmer empire was the pre-eminent influence in South-East Asia. The temples were believed to represent the cosmic world and were set in perfect balance, symmetry and composition. The intricately carved bas-reliefs and architectural designs are both stunning and fascinating to look at and there are some truly awesome photographic opportunities at any time of day - we defiantly recommend watching both the sunrise or sunset over this ancient wonder of the world..
Once you start walking around this ancient site you will truly get to understand the sheer size of the complex, as you will learn the ruins are scattered over an area of some 160 sq km, but the main group of temples is close to Siem Reap so you'll have plenty of time to fully acknowledge the great archaeological sites of Angkor Wat, the Bayon and the jungle-covered Ta Prohm.
For those adventure seekers out there that feel like stepping it up a notch, another option is to do the "Flight of the Gibbon" zip-line course, giving you a birds eye view of the rain forest with extra adrenalin rush thrown in!
Other options here include a visit to the sobering Landmine Museum or our Siem Reap Street Food by Night Urban Adventure.
A One Day Angkor Pass is included on this tour. If you would like to return to Angkor outside of our included tour, you can purchase a longer pass through your tour leader.
Siem Reap - 1-day Angkor Pass
Siem Reap - Guided Tour
Tonle Sap boat trip - USD15
Remork transport to Tonle Sap Lake - USD10
Flight of the Gibbon ziplining - USD109
Landmine Museum - USD5
Three Day Angkor Pass - USD40
Accommodation Victory Guesthouse or similar
Day 5 - Kompong Cham
Today we travel roughly 300km (or 5 hours) on a public bus. This quiet town was once a trading hub, but now, it’s a great way to experience small-town life in Cambodia.
There are a few different things to do here, including Wat Nokor (dating back to 11th century. There’s also an island called Koh Paen, linked to the town by a bamboo bridge (take a ferry when it’s the wet season, the bridge won’t be passable then!). Here, locals grow tobacco and sesame and also fish. If you’re in to your temples, you’ll want to check out the twin ‘mountain temples’ of Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei.
Wat Nokor- USD1
Bicycle Hire- USD2
Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei- USD10
Accommodation: Mekong Hotel or similar
Day 6 - Phnom Penh
Catch a public bus to the capital city of Phnom Penh (approx 3 hrs).
The bustling city of Phnom Penh is Cambodia's capital. It is set on a major junction of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers and boasts some fine examples of French-inspired architecture.
There’s are an array of activities to chose from here including but not limited to:
The Choeung Ek Memorial site, where you will see a humbling stupa made up of some 8,000 human skulls that marks the site of the infamous Killing Fields. This was the execution ground for the torture victims of Tuol Sleng and standing in this very peaceful setting it's almost unthinkable to imagine that to date nearly 9000 corpses have been dug up from the area.
Now learn about a much happier time in Cambodian history with a visit to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.
Go and explore the beautiful Wat Phnom, a peaceful temple sited on a hill for which the city is named. As the legend goes, a 14th-century woman named Penh found sacred Buddhist objects in the nearby river and placed them here on the small hill.
Now have a wander around the National Museum. Housed in a one of the beautiful traditional buildings, this museum contains many outstanding examples of the Khmer craftsmanship.
Soak up the sites by cyclo tour. Tours generally take in the following:
Mekong river front
Finishing at the Royal Palace.
If you fancy doing some shopping then this is the perfect place to have a browse and buy some souvenirs. You can stop in at the art deco-designed Psar Thmei (Central Market) which is a great place for picking up random things, or travel out to Psar Tuol Tom Pong (the Russian Market) for the best range of gifts that you can get for your friends and family back home.
Urban Adventures on offer in Phnom Penh include:
Phnom Penh's Past
Phnom Penh Secrets & Mekong Sunset
Killing Fields of Choueng Ek - USD3
Transport to Choeung Ek - USD10
Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda - USD7
Wat Phnom - USD2
National Museum - USD5
Cyclo tour - USD4
Entrance to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) and Choeung Ek - USD3
Accommodation: Nawin Guesthouse or similar
Day 7 – Homestay
Traveling by private bus you will arrive into the epitome of rural Cambodia (this will take us approx 3 hrs) to the region of Kampong Speu and into the village of Chambok, which shall be the location of our homestay for the night. Exited? You should be!
Our Homestay is an eye-opening, not to mention very rare opportunity for you to witness not only everyday life, but really to put yourself right at the very heart of Cambodian living. Once your day is over, in the evening we enjoy a traditional-style dinner. Facilities are basic and multi share with mattresses, bedding and mosquito nets all provided.
Meals included: dinner
Day 8-9 – Sihanoukville
You will be driven into Sihanoukville by private bus (approx 4 hrs).
A little known fact about this peaceful place is it was named for the Cambodian royal family, Sihanoukville has miles of sandy beaches for you to top up your tan and go for a swim plus you will notice the abundance of warm and welcoming people, both local and just people traveling through.
Some of the things you might want to have a go at are:
Take a boat to one of the nearby islands, where you're free to enjoy a barbecue lunch and relax among swaying palms, white sands and blue waters.
Make a trip out to the Ream National Park - 21 hectares of coastal mangrove forest, which hosts a great variety of animal and bird species.
Ream National Park entry fee - USD5
Island boat trip - USD15
Accommodation: Sunday Guesthouse or similar
Day 10 - Phnom Penh
Now you have had a great time Sihanoukville, it is time to jump on a local bus back to Phnom Penh (approx 4 hrs).
Before we head out to Vietnam why not treat yourself to a traditional massage at the Seeing Hands Massage parlours - they really are some of the best in the city and your custom supports the visually impaired masseurs, whose years of training are sure to work wonders on muscle aches and pains you have sustained over the years..
Traditional Khmer massage - USD5
Accommodation: Nawin Guesthouse or similar
Day 11-12 - Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam- Coming to get ya!! Travel from Cambodia's Phnom Penh by local bus straight into Ho Chi Minh City (approx 7 hours).
Leaving Cambodia at Bavet we enter Vietnam at Moc Bai. Your leader will assist you with border crossing procedures.
Once upon a time known as Saigon, but now Ho Chi Minh City is characterised by a vast array of sights and sounds, and is a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. The truly vast number of people rushing about their daily lives in Vietnam's largest city is truly amazing and gives it quite a dynamic atmosphere and one thing you will notice straight off is the French influence that is evident in the excellent baguettes and coffee on offer.
Much of daily city life takes place on the bustling streets lined with shops, stalls and vendors, who have their goods spread out on the footpath and sell everything from soup and veg to sophisticated up to date electronics. You will definitely find something that is abstract to buy and take home with you while you are here, that’s for certain.
Just a few of the Urban Adventures available in HCMC include but are by no means limited to:
Cu Chi Experience
Saigon Street Food by Night.
Your leader can help you book on the tour of your choice.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the make up of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting called upon to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers that have hopped on board.
Reunification Palace - VND30000
War Remnants Museum - VND15000
Cu Chi Tunnels - VND90000
Accommodation: Saigon Royal Hotel or similar
Day 13-14 - Mekong Delta
Continue ahead on your journey with by now your new found buddies down to the Mekong Delta and visit unexplored Ben Tre where coconut is everything and anything.
This fertile delta is famous for its enormous harvests of tropical fruits and flowers as well as boating along the canals. Once you get here we jump on board our private boat and cruise along the maze of waterways to visit some of the local cottage industries. Then head to our overnight Homestay along the waterside. On this you we will be sleeping on simple camp beds in dorm-style rooms with all meals included. Both bedding and mosquito nets are provided for you. You will have access to shared toilet and bathroom facilities that are quite basic. Up nice and early to the dulcet sounds of the area coming alive, we get to enjoy a simple but delicious breakfast before boarding our private boat, and catching a bus back into the mighty Ho Chi Minh City.
Mekong Delta - Boat cruise and Homestay
Meals: Lunch | Dinner
Day 14 - Ho Chi Minh City - Overnight Train
Now for the best bit…. You get to jump on board an overnight train to Nha Trang (approx 11 hours). As you would expect Conditions are basic but that said overnight trains are a true travelling experience and THE best way to travel long distances with the locals. Sleeper trains typically have four berth compartments (occasionally six berth depending on seasonal variations), which have bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. You will get a sheet, pillow and blanket provided for your comfort, although some travellers do prefer to bring along their own sleeping sheet. You can buy special travel sheets that fold up real small into your backpack for this. On some occasions, passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment and there will also be the odd times where you'll be sharing with local travellers or travellers who are not part of your group.
The trains for the most part have a dining carriage serving simple food, but some travellers take the opportunity to stock up on fresh bread, cheese and fruit prior to departure.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 15-16 - Nha Trang
Arrive in Nha Trang at approx. 5am and transfer to your hotel.
Once referred to as the 'Cannes of the Orient', Nha Trang's sandy palm-lined beach and island-dotted bay still make an idyllic picture, and a cosmopolitan feel prevails in the town itself.
Spend your days here soaking up the sun on a lovely beach, exploring the local markets or checking out the ancient Cham Towers nearby. Make sure you try some of the excellent seafood restaurants.
Board an overnight train bound for Danang (approx. 8 hours) late evening on Day 16.
Boat trip - VND1316000
Mud baths - VND280000
Bao Dai Villa - VND120000
Accommodation: Cuong Long Hotel or similar
Day 17-19 - Hoi An
Once we’ve arrived in Danang we grab a minibus to Hoi An (approx. 1 hour).
Hoi An has only recently been declared a World Heritage Site, it is being beautifully restored and preserved. Early Western travellers called this fair city Faifo, and it was one of SE Asia’s popular international ports between 1600’s to 1800’s. This beautiful city retains its colonial charm in its architecture. Hoi An also offers amazing shopping! There is everything from original handicrafts such has woodwork, ceramics, embroidery, lanterns… even paintings! Hoi An is also very famous for its tailoring, so make sure you have a picture or two of your favourite clothing items to make it!
The countryside is also a beautiful sight to behold, and of course you have to do it the typically fairy-tale way, which is by bike.
Ancient town tour
Countryside Bicycle Tour on Day 18
My Son Cham day trip VND 800000
Thu Bon river boat trip VND 100000
Accommodation: Hai Yen hotel or similar
Day 20 - 22 Hue & Overnight Train
On our way to the next step of our adventure, we stop off at China Beach (or, officially, My Khe Beach), before we cross the dramatic Hai Van Pass to a beautiful, picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words fishing village called Lang Co. We then head off to Hue (this takes approx. 5 hours including stops).
Hue is the former imperial capital of Vietnam, and thus houses the treasures of Vietnam’s royal past. While streets are bustling with life, you can also find some quiet corners of this city. You will have a free day to explore, so, take heed of the following!!
Imperial Citadel, and the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost entirely destroyed during the Vietnam War, and seeing the ruins will give you an idea of the scale of the destruction of their civil war.
Dragon Boat Cruise on the Perfume River, with a visit to Thien Mu Pagoda- this is considered the unofficial symbol of Hue, and is actually an active Buddhist monastery. Some date this place back to 1601!
Royal tombs of Emperor Tu Duc
Imperial citadel - VND 105000
Perfume River Cruise and Thien Mu Pagoda - VND 220000
Royal Tomb - VND 80000
Accommodation: Victory Hotel Hue or similar
Day 23 – Hanoi
We arrive in Hanoi super early (like, 4am early), and get transferred to our hotel.
This capital of Vietnam is really a cute little city, with only, you know, 6 million people living there (!!) Hanoi is famous for its picturesque lakes, shady boulevards, public parks, and its Old Quarter, with buildings reminiscent of a 1930’s French town. While Hanoi is trying to keep up with the modern times, there is also the charm of the old- old Buddhist temples and ancient trees.
You’ll get a walking tour of the Old Quarter, where you visit the Dong Xuan market, an amazing wholesale market (it’s actually the biggest in Northern Vietnam!). Stroll through the ’36 streets’ where you will discover all sorts of shops selling everything from exquisite silk to plastic toys…play ‘who can buy the best souvenirs’ with your trip buddies! Your tour leader will also direct your camera to gorgeous architecture around Hoan Kiem Lake and tell you stories of myths and legends of the lake.
Ho Chi MInh’s Mausoleum and Museum (in Hanoi) - VND 50000
Fine Arts Museum - VND 30000
Army Museum - VND20000
Women’s Museum - VND30000
Temple of Literature - VND20000
Museum of Ethnology - VND40000
Accommodation: Hanoi Legacy Hotel (previously known as the An Hung Hotel) or similar
Day 24 - Halong Bay
Not gonna lie- this is probably one of the most famous parts of the trip you’ll experience!
We drive through the Red River Delta to Halong Bay (approx 4 hours)- along the way we will stop for a handicraft village run by disabled people.
What is Halong Bay anyway and why do people keep talking about it? Basically, it’s a secluded harbour with over 2,000 limestone islands rising from the water of the Bac Bo Gulf. This is, without a doubt, one of the most scenic places you’ll visit in your lifetime. With an area of 1,500 sq km, you will find innumerable beaches and grottos. You get to head out on a boat cruise to see the limestones jutting out of the clear, green water. On board the boat you will enjoy a delectable seafood lunch on board, and considering the weather, in the warmer months we can even go for a dip!
We stay overnight in Halong City (Bai Chay)
The Halong Bay Boat Tour
Meals included: Lunch
Day 25-26 - Hanoi
We head back to Hanoi by ferry and bus (approx 3 hours) for some more free time and an optional group dinner.
Because there’s so much to do here, we’re giving you some more time to actually take in all the sights. There is a vast array of museums and temples, from the Temple of Literature (dedicated to Confucius), or even learning about POW histories at the Hanoi Hilton.
Sadly, you might have to say goodbye to some people in your group, or even your group leader, as this is a combination trip. There’s a group meeting as well, so if you want to meet your new group, it’d be a great idea to join in!
Revolutionary Museum - VND1500
Temple of Literature - VND20000
Museum of Ethnology - VND40000
Accommodation: Hanoi Legacy Hotel or similar